Ten Books that Should Be Required Reading
I’ve seen similar weekly memes at book blogs I follow and decided to join the fun hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is required reading, specifically which books we feel we’d have liked to read in school. Now, the choices may vary widely due to students’ ages, so I decided to go with my gut and chose feminist literature and socially critical novels I’d have enjoyed in my teens. It goes unsaid that I enjoyed several of the titles as an adult as well.
My list can be divided into several categories:
1. Feminist Books
These books focus on the problems women and girls face, the emphasis being on discrimination, subjugation and inherent double standards of society. The books also feature racism and women of colour. I think it is important to teach children and teenagers early on about these issues, both to prevent the perpetuation of the problems and to open the eyes to their own inherent prejudices.
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
- Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
- The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett
2. Coming of Age Books
What would be a list without some of the best literature has to offer regarding tales of extraordinary children? I had a hard time deciding on the titles since there are so many great books to choose from. I focused on the books that fit with my other two themes, so they deal with racism and religion as well.
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Northern Lights by Philip Pullman
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
3. Books with Emphasis on Religion (especially Islam)
There were never any titles that would portray Islam or any Near East characters in my required reading which is a great shame. We live in a time when the media bombard us with a narrow, extremist image of Islam that fosters many prejudices against this colourful culture and religion. Perhaps my choices, which deal with the extremes religion can come to isn’t the very best to break the mold, but an open-minded reader can see beyond the bad and embrace the good. I think my choices are foremost good tales, second socially critical works. Dune especially should prove to be a fantastic read.